2. Industrialization and Pollution: Topic Overview
Industrialization and Pollution are major
issues in our society. As the human race
continues to increase industrialization and
pollution, more environmental and health
issues arise. Many books and films bring to
light the issues that arise from
industrialization and pollution.
In our Popular Culture class, we examine
these widely-known films that bring up the
issues behind industrialization and
pollution: Avatar (2009), Ferngully - The
Last Rainforest, and Wall-E.
Between these three films are 4
oscars and 113 other awards.
Our presentation will continue to examine
the film Avatar (2009) and how it relates
to the topic of industrialization and
3. Avatar: Overview
Avatar is a 2009 film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James
Cameron. The film is set in the mid 22nd century, when humans are mining a
precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora. The expansion of the mining
colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na’vi.
The idea for Avatar came about in 1994 when James Cameron wrote an 80
page treatment for the film. The proper technology James Cameron needed to
achieve his vision had not been developed yet, however, so production was
halted. Fortunately in 2006 the proper technological advances were in place
for Cameron to continue his work. Cameron announced he would be using his
own Reality Camera System to film in 3D. The system would use two highdefinition cameras in a single camera body to create depth perception. Avatar
was one of the first and most successful films to be animated in 3D. The 3D
element was used to enhance the mystical world of the Na’vi and emphasize
the beauty of nature on Pandora.
Addresses the following issues:
According to Dictionary.com, the
definition of industrialization is:
The large-scale introduction of
technical enterprises, and other
productive economic activity
into an area, society, a country
etc. Industrialization is very
apparent in the film Avatar, and
James Cameron points out the
negatives associated with it.
6. Industrialization in Avatar
“(Unobtanium) is a room-temperature
superconductor for energy, which makes it very
valuable; it is worth $20 million per kilogram
(2.2 lbs) unrefined (worth $40 million per
kilogram refined) on Earth.” (http://jamescamerons-avatar.wikia.com/)
In Avatar, the humans, for the most part, are
portrayed to be motivated by the money value
In the film, humans introduce large scale mining of
“Unobtanium” on Pandora.
The film sends a message about how
industrialization is motivated by money, and
because of that, society wants to produce as much
When only worrying about getting more and
more, things that have value in other forms
besides money are forfeited to produce the
In this case, the land that is home to the
Na’vi is forfeited. The humans value the
Unobtanium while the Na’vi value the land.
The humans only understand their
perception of the value behind Unobtainium
so they continue to destroy the values of the
“Anybody that is a global-warming denier at this point in time has got their head so deeply up their ass I’m not sure
they could hear me.” -James Cameron
Sustainability definition: the quality of not being harmful to the environment
or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term
Avatar has a pro-sustainability message.
8. Sustainability in Avatar
Sustainability and nature play a large part in the Na’Vi’s
way of life.
The Na’Vi live off the land.
They create their weapons from nature.
The food they eat is provided by nature.
o They are even spiritually connected with nature.
The Na’Vi believe in Eywa which is the substance, energy, and spirit of nature.
The Na’Vi are dependant on ewa.
Whether it serves as a form of transportation, defense or hunting mechanism.
The Ikran or Toruk.
Or whether it serves as a source of life, physically and spiritually
Plants and animals as a source of food.
Tree of Souls.
Eywa provides life for the Na’Vi and the Na’Vi fight to protect the life of Eywa.
The Na’Vi live in complete harmony with nature.
Everything on pandora is connected.
This provides life for nature and the Na’Vi alike while staying environmentally sound and ecologically
James Cameron has been one of the
outspoken environmental activist,"There's
always going to be a temptation to use coal
because it's the cheapest power out there”,
“But look at China. We don't want to wind up
like this with absolutely unbreathable air. I
was in Beijing just recently and it's literally
unbreathable air. And a lot of it is particulate
pollution from coal." By sharing his
experiences, showing Cameron has a strong
feeling about the issues of pollution.
In the movie “Avatar” directed by James
Cameron, he takes on the issue of climate
change and pollution.
10. Pollution in Avatar
People in the earth turned to extraterrestrial worlds, which is
Pandora. All the natural resources of the earth are depleted, due to
pollution, the population topped out at a dramatic numbers.
The movie uses color blue and green a lot to illustrate the
environment of Pandora, represents the missing forest and ocean
that has been polluted it in the earth.
Very dangerous but valuable mineral found on the Pandora
Unobtanium is needed to manufacture machines, mining will
certainly damage the nature, such as the looming global
Na’vi are able to connect with the nature, transfer electrochemical
signals such as thoughts and memories to the trees, plants, and
Human and the ecosystem are related, transferring message
of environmental awareness
12. Imperialism in Avatar
“I started having these dreams of flying. I was free.” -Jake Sully
The Na’Vi are free, poor (in terms of money) indigenous people
The RDA are rich, technologically advanced, “bourgeois type”
The RDA try and take, by force, the land of the Na’Vi as evidenced by:
o Them plowing over the “tree of voices.”
o The final battle scene.
Quote from James Cameron:
o “Avatar was written long before even Gulf One—was more in response to a kind of human history at large and the
way the history of the human race has been written in blood by technically or militarily superior people taking from
those who are less capable. That’s how Rome worked, that’s how Greece worked, that’s how China worked, you
name it—name your empire.”
Definition of Capitalism:
an economic and political
system in which a
country's trade and
industry are controlled by
private owners for profit,
rather than by the state.
Avatar has a strong AntiCapitalist message.
14. Capitalism in Avatar
The gaining of land through imperialistic means is for Capitalists reasons.
According to Marxist theorist Vladimir Lenin, imperialism is a natural feature of a developed capitalist nation
state as it matures into monopoly capatalism.
Military is trying to gain control of land on Pandora for financial gain.
They want to plow and pillage the NaVi’s planet for unobtanium which is a rare and expensive power source.
Entire reason for the RDA’s (Resources Development Administration) presence on Pandora is to make a
quick buck any way possible.
Biggest symbol of Capitalism in Avatar is the Parker Selfridge character.
Manager of the entire operation. Considered “the suit” which is direct contrast to the natural, indigenous Na’Vi
whose only worry is that of the “quarterly statement.”
Unrational, inhumane, and greedy.
“This is why we're here; unobtanium, because this little gray rock sells for 20 million a kilo.
That's the only reason. It's what pays for the whole party. It's what pays for your science.”
"Their damn village happens to be resting on the richest unobtanium deposit within 200 klicks in any
direction. I mean, look at all that cheddar!”
15. Avatar in Capitalism
6th most expensive movie produced at
237 million dollars.
Highest grossing domestic film of all
time at 760 million dollars.
Highest grossing film worldwide at 2.7
Total video sales at 350 million dollars.
Millions made in memorabilia from
books, action figures, postage stamps,
video games,to theme park attractions.
16. Discussion Questions
1. Why does the film tell us about modern man versus nature? How does it relate to our society now?
2. Do you think the humans think they are a higher class than the avatar people? If so, Why?
3. How is Avatar a product of capitalism, in both interpretation and production, and how are they
4. How do the portrayal of Capitalism and Imperialism add to the message of environmental
sustainability in Avatar?
5. Why does industrialization often involve forfeiting moral choices? How is it portrayed in Avatar?
6. What beliefs and practices of the Na’vi might seem attractive to us? Who, in our world, might the
7. Why does Cameron use real earth landscapes as the inspiration in designing the fictional world of
8. What does the name “Pandora” of the new planet represent? Why does Cameron choose to name it
Charles: Capitalism, Imperialism,
Sustainability, Helped with Film Overview,
Fine Tuning, Discussion Questions 3 and 4
Connor: Industrialization, Topic Overview,
Discussion Questions 5 and 6, Initial Setup of
Victor:Video Clip, Overview, Discussion
Question 1 and 2
Yanyan: Pollution, discussion question 7 and 8